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Miguel Cerillo testifies in front of the House Oversight Committee

Miguel Cerillo testifies in front of the House Oversight Committee

June 9, 2022

After Congressional Hearings on Gun Violence, Partisan Disagreements Threaten Reforms

Ask Students: Which gun control policies do you think would be effective in curbing gun violence? Why are Republicans opposed to gun reforms?


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Although the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation on June 8, 2022, to enact tough new gun measures, it faces dire chances of success in the Senate because of Republican opposition. The bill would prohibit sales of semiautomatic rifles to people under age 21, ban the sale of magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition, and establish stricter requirements regulating the storage of guns in homes.

On June 8, before the House voted, the Oversight Committee heard testimony from people affected by the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Texas. Witnesses and family members testified. Democrats on the committee are trying to push for stricter gun measures; however, Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) and other Republicans on the committee warned that making laws that impact the rights of gun owners would be unconstitutional. Watch the video of the testimony below; then, answer the discussion questions and complete the other activities that feature a speech by actor Matthew McConaughey and a timeline on 30 years of gun reforms.

Remote video URL

Discussion Questions: What Can We Do?

  1. Why are Republicans opposed to stricter gun laws? What is the Democrats’ main argument for their legislation, and what do you think of it?
  2. Which gun control policies do you think would be effective in curbing gun violence?
  3. Historically, midterms have been an opportunity for the opposition party to regain seats in Congress. Given what happened recently with gun violence in the country, do you think that Democrats can still keep their majority with a message that promotes more gun control? 

Think Deeper: The Effects of Lobbying

How could lobbying from interest groups and organizations like the National Rifle Association impact the outcome of the midterm elections? Read more about the influence and spending ability of the NRA.

Media Literacy

Watch the video below of actor and Uvalde native Matthew McConaughey giving a speech at the White House on the need for gun reforms. 

Discussion: Celebrity Activism

  • What is the purpose of his speech? Why is it important we come together?
  • Who do you think McConaughey is referencing when he mentions those that seek to divide us?
  • Do you think it’s important for celebrities to give political speeches? What other celebrities can you think of who work on political causes?  Who else do you think should be given the opportunity to give a speech at the White House?

Timeline: 30 Years of Reform Failure

Examine this timeline of notable pieces of federal gun legislation that either passed or were defeated in Congress. It shows how politics around guns, and the coalitions of politicians focusing on this topic, have shifted over time.

Despite mass shootings over the years, we can see that Congress failed on multiple occasions to make or preserve lasting gun reforms. Why do you think legislators can’t find a resolution? Are you optimistic about the future given the current circumstances? What do you think we should do to get Congress to pass effective change?

Examine the timeline here.
Andy Kratochvil

Andy Kratochvil is an SML team member who loves hiking, scary books, Mexican food, and finding great content for the Share My Lesson community.He studied political science and French at California State University, Fullerton and received his Master’s in International Affairs from American University

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